Tuesday, 28 August 2012

How to make a reversible tote bag and corsage....

I made this bag as a birthday present for a friend, it is reversible and has a removable corsage - which I will do a tutorial on in the future.  The instructions are for machine sewing but this bag can easily be hand stitched.  So, to make the bag ....

Materials and equipment:
2 different designs of fabric - you will need 1/2 yard of fabric in each: min width of 30"
Matching thread
Tape measure
Sewing pins
Safety pin
Tailors Chalk or pencil

I chose these 2 fabrics with the bright orange as the lining.

Cut out 2 rectangles - 15" wide by 14" long - in each of the fabrics, save the extra fabric for your straps, so you now have 4 pieces of fabric.

Put the 2 pieces of the same fabric together and draw a 1/2 inch line down 3 sides - see above as guide.

Mark out a stitching line on the fabric - 1/2 inch wide - with tailors chalk as in the photograph, this will guide your stitching.  If you dont have tailors chalk use a pencil: its not going to be seen.

Now stitch allong the line - as an extra guide use the ridge mark on the sewing machine plate to guide you - make sure the edge of the fabric meets the 'line', this will give you a straight row of stitching and an accurate seam.  Take any pins out as you go...

On reaching the corner, leave the needle in the work lift the presser foot up on the machine and turn your work round....

When finished the three seams do the same with your other piece of fabric....

When you have finished stitching both fabrics snip the corners being careful not to cut the stitching.  This will make the fabric lie better in the corners.

Press the seams out on both pieces of fabric - again, this will let your fabric lie better.

Now we will make the straps.  Cut 2 x 2 inch strips in each of the fabrics - these need to be approx 28" long - or depending on your choice of length.

Then place 1 strip of each fabric together - right sides together.  Sew these together but this time make the seam with the edge of the machine foot allong the edge of the fabric which will give you a narrow seam.  See photographs. 

Repeat down both sides of the fabric.

You should have 2 straps like above.

Now, attach a safety pin to the end of the fabric - being careful to only put it through one layer of fabric.

Then feed the safety pin through the tube of fabric - which is the strap.....

Till it comes out at the other end.....

Pull it all they way through and repeat with the other strap: you now have 2 staps.

Iron the seams out again like the above photo .......

Then grip together the fabric by the actual seam - as above....

And press again.....

You now have 2 completed straps - these can be top stitched along the edges which will give a flatter finish.

Now we are going to create a seam on the corners of each fabric to give your bag a box shape.  Grasp the corners of the bag and press into a triangular shape - then pin to hold it in place 1 inch from the actual corner: see below

Do this on each corner on each fabric - so you have 4 of them: as above.

Now draw a line 1" in across the corner: as above.

Stitch along the line.

Do this 4 times - 2 corners on each fabric.

Now we will place the straps on the bag.  Using the fabric that will be on the outside pin the straps into place.  Make sure that the straps are not twisted and they should be placed 4"  from the seam on your bag from both sides.

                                             Do this on both sides of the bag.

Stitch the straps into place - placing the sewing machine foot allong the edge of the fabric.

This is how your bag should look after stitching the straps into place.

Now the tricky bit - your outside fabric for your bag should be the wrong way round: with the pattern on the inside and the same with the straps.  Your lining fabric should be the right way round with the print on the outside.  Place the lining fabric into the outside fabric as above and make sure the straps are tucked inside.  

Match the fabrics up edge to edge and pin into place all around the top edge making sure the straps are lying flat all ong the seam.

Leave a 4 inch opening in the middle of one of the seams - mark it out with 2 pins.

Now stitch around the seam using the 1/2" guide on your sewing machine - like we did earlier.  Be careful to leave that 4" opening.

Now turn the bag the right way round by passing it through the 4" opening

And you should have this

Now tuck the lining fabric into the bag

And press the seam.

Now top stitch the seam opening and you can continue all the way around the top of the bag - this will give it a neatfinish. 

You have now completed your bag......

To create the corsage you will require small amounts of 4 different colours - I have used double knitting, 3.5mm crochet hook and a safety pin.  All instructions are in English crochet - but here are the US equivalent:

ch - chain
sl st - slip stitch
dc - double crochet   (US sc - single crochet)
tr - treble    (US dc - double crochet)

Start your corsage by making 4 ch

Then do a sl st into the 1st ch to create a ring 

then Ch1 - this counts as 1dc - and then 2 dc into ring

ch 6

then do a slip stitch 

into the base 

of the last dc

then 3dc

and repeat the 6ch the sl st into base as before

Do this 6 times in total and then fasten off - will need to wiggle it round a bit to fit them in!

You now have the 'bud' of your corsage

Pull the next colour through where you fastened off

And then start doing trebles into the 6ch from the previous round

You need to do 10 of these.....

then do a sl st into the middle dc from the previous round - 2nd dc from 6ch loop

And then repeat into next 6ch

Do all the way round and slip stitch into starting point - you now have a flower and you could stop at this stage....

But to add the next round of colour - draw the yarn through where you fastened the last one off - it may be a good idea to tidy up your previous loose ends.


and then keeping the 4 ch to the back of your work and 

do 1dc in the slip stitch from the previous row

and repeat all the way round - 6 times in total

sl st into the first ch and this is how it should look from the back

Ch1- counts as 1 dc - and then work 3dc into the first 4ch slot 

and then continue with 4 dc into each 4 ch slot till end 

sl st into ch1 - you now have 24dc and it should look like this!

Now create the base for your petals like before with ch1 - counts as 1 dc, 2dc then 6ch and then slip st into base of dc:

then continue round with 3dc, 6ch sl st into base dc repeat 

till you sl st into ch1 at start - you should have 8 loops 

 and it should look like this on the back

Now do as before - sl st into 2dc from hook and then 10tr into 6ch loop

Repeat all the way round - 8 petals sl st into start point of row and fasten off

So it should bee like this on the front 

and this on the back...

Now we are doing the same as before re-introducing the new colour

then 5ch and 1dc into previous rows slip stitch 

do this 8 times

and then slip st to 1st ch

Now work 5dc - into the previous 5ch from earlier round - then 1dc into dc from previous row - and then 6ch and sl st into base of the dc

like this....

complete round with sl st into 1st dc

Now create the petals like before but work 12 trebles instead of 10

so sl st into 3rd dc from hook then do 12 tr into 6ch

Repeat all the way round  - 8 times -sl st and fasten off

And this is how it should look on the back, now attach a safety pin and you have your corsage......


and I thought you might like to see my cat who was very involved in the making of my corsage - or at least he tried to be!  He's not as 'mean' as he looks...

I apologise for the number of photos but I thought it would make tuition easier, its not difficult to make and its my own creation - I have not copied it from anywhere else.  Tell your friends about it please and I'd love some feedback as I'm new to this game....


  1. Hi there, love the corsage, made one tonight, took me a couple of hours. Saw the pattern on ravelry.

  2. Thank you - nearly 400 views of this and somebody has finally made a comment! Hope you are happy with your coursage.

  3. Hi there. Thanks for the very detailed guide. Most helpful. Ps... Love your furry little helper too!


Total Pageviews